Bible Insights

Sometimes God Tells Us Not To Pray

The Bible is Full of Surprising Verses That We Will Do Well to Explore

Sometimes I see things that surprise me when I read the Bible—things I think shouldn’t be there. One example is when God tells Jeremiah to not pray for the people of Judah.

Wait, isn’t Judah part of God’s chosen people? Yes, they are. Yet God shocks Jeremiah—and us—when he says to not pray for their well-being.

Even though they fast and give burnt offerings, God says he will ignore them. He plans to punish them for all the wrong they have done. Therefore it is a waste of time to pray for them.

I get this. One time I committed to pray for the leadership of a small, struggling church. They were good people who loved God and wanted to make a difference in their community. I prayed for them each morning for several months.

Then one day, in mid-prayer, God told me to stop. He didn’t explain why; he just said to not pray for them anymore.

I was perplexed.

Then a friend shared his experience. He was speaking at this church, giving them their Sunday message. In the middle of his lesson God spoke to him. God said “Don’t come back here; if you do it will be sin.” Gulp.

That’s blunt. But it helped confirm that I had heard correctly. Even though neither of us understood why, we obeyed. For whatever reason God didn’t want us to invest anymore effort on this church. I still don’t know why.

What I do know is that it’s useless to pray for things when God says not to. For now that is all I need to know.

[Read through the Bible with us this year. Today’s reading is Jeremiah 13-15, and today’s post is on Jeremiah 14:11-12.]

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.

Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

Bogged Down Reading the Bible?

10 Essential Bible Reading Tips, from Peter DeHaan

Get the Bible Reading Tip Sheet: “10 Tips to Turn Bible Reading from Drudgery to Delight.”

​Enter your info and receive the free Bible Reading Tip Sheet and be added to Peter’s email list.